6. Xenia Rubinos, 'Black Terry Cat'
"I'm proud of where I'm from," Xenia Rubinos told Rolling Stone earlier this year, "But it's inaccurate to call my music Latin because I am." Still, Rubinos' brilliant Black Terry Cat paints an indelible portrait of life within New York's Caribbean community: a multi-lingual, multi-racial, multi-genre culture that is simultaneously, quintessentially American. A jazz virtuosa with a Baduizm-tinged soul, Rubinos deftly slinks between English and Spanish, telling tales from her corner of the city. On "Black Stars" she rages on both her piano keys and her toxic bonds; leads a dizzying game of disco-punk patty cake in "See Them"; and rallies from the kitchens of chic, gentrified Brooklyn restaurants in "Mexican Chef," bemoaning the "party across America, bachata in the back." Though she may decry a similar second-class status by being on a list like this, Rubinos is on to something that begs a new musical and cultural shift. S.E.